Friday, 02 March 2012 | by ADOR
Finally we are really seeing the benefit of being in the east and today we have passed both Camper and Telefonica to hold third place. The positioning of the boats doesn’t really tell the full story though as we are getting tested regularly by huge clouds and rain squalls which try their best to push us off course. Some squalls have been up to 38 knots and have resulted in us having to sail 60 degrees off course to weather them.
It is a real test for the crews who need to rapidly reduce sail as fast as they can and hang on tight until the rain squall passes. It is then a race to get back to full sail as the wind drops away behind the cloud. In the day time this is not too bad as you can see the clouds and plot your path through them, but at night it takes on a whole new dimension. The only tool we have to help us is our radar that can pick up the rain signaling the advancing squalls. It is safe to say new have been getting better at this with practice but there remains a slight element of luck as to which clouds hit you, how hard and when. One cloud can make or lose you tens of miles so as the sun goes down over the horizon we will be looking to ride the front edge of as many as we can in the darkness tonight.
The only frustration aboard has been the downtime we have had due to some minor breakages. When you are travelling at 20 knots, having to slow down for even 20 minutes results in many lost miles. I suspect we have lost about 20 miles now but I also suspect we are not alone in this after a punishing few days at breakneck speed.
Looking forward we have some very interesting navigational challenges ahead. For now we are constrained by the Solomon Islands which we must pass to the east of but after that some big decisions will need to be made. Right now the fleet remains very tightly packed and I don’t think even Groupama can be sleeping easy as the fleet compresses into the back of them. Another person who will not be sleeping easy is Paul Willcox. He is 75 miles away from his first Equator crossing and King Neptune is growing very restless.
date: Friday, 02 March 2012 12:27:31 (Arabian Standard Time, UTC+04:00)
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